Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mailbag: Anchor tips


If you had to give one and only one tip to a rookie anchor, what would it be? I'm about to make my maiden voyage on the desk.

Hmmm... only one? I'd have to go with "talk, don't read."  When you're just reading the prompter you have no "voice"... when you're talking naturally, you're bringing the viewer in.

It's not an easy skill to master. Many young people make the mistake of trying to have perfect diction and enunciate every word. They often come off as robotic. Talk the way you normally do on the phone, to a friend, etc. The more conversational you are, the more successful you'll be.

Dear Grape,

Are you spotting any new trends as far as hiring goes?

Actually, yes. I'm seeing clients get interviews when they never did before... during sweeps and around holidays. While most people get job offers and interviews after sweeps, it's no longer unheard of for someone to get a call during the middle of February or on Christmas week. When your tape is ready, don't wait. Send it.


Are three year contracts really that bad for a first job?

If you sign one, you won't need to ask me that question in 36 months because you'll have been kicking yourself after 24.

There is absolutely no reason for a rookie to sign a contract that long. Two years is bad enough.

Dear Grape,

You have a lot of advice for reporters and anchors but I was wondering if there was a good site for those of us learning to shoot with tips on photography.

No, but a good photog friend of mine is working on a book that should be out shortly. I'll keep you posted.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Staying on the back burner

I hear this one all the time from clients. News Director calls, loves the tape. Tells client he's going to make a decision n a few weeks. A few weeks go by. ND says the decision is coming soon. Weeks become months. Job remains open. Client gets frustrated and wants to move on.

And that's the last thing you should do.

If you've made it to the short list and a News Director keeps stringing you along like this, you need to stay in the back of his mind. The hiring may have been delayed, the GM can't make a decision, corporate wants approval, whatever. Just because that two week decision is stretching into several months doesn't mean you should give up because it may be out of the ND's hand.

So you need to stay in the back of his mind. Touch base every month or so by sending a link to a great package you've done or an entirely new tape with a few good stories. He probably hasn't forgotten you, but this will ensure that he doesn't.

One client got hired more than a year after sending the first tape by sending periodic updates. Trust me, it pays to stay in touch.